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Business News of Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Source: happyghana.com

Cocoa Sector: Gov’t should focus on diversification and processing – Caternor

T.T Caternor, NDC member T.T Caternor, NDC member

A member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the La DadeKotopon constituency, T.T Caternor, says the government’s investment into the cocoa sector will yield no results if it keeps supplying only cocoa seedlings to farmers.

According to him, Ghana’s cocoa production ability is declining and if government does not phase out into cocoa processing to make its farming attractive to the ordinary farmer, they (farmers) will give up on growing the cash crop completely.

“At the end of the day, if the figures given by government on the number of cocoa seedlings supplied to farmers doesn’t double by itself, then we are safe to assume this investment is not yielding any results. I believe we should re-look at our strategy towards cocoa moving forward. I don’t know if the 1D1F policy has considered the establishment of processing plants for cocoa pods which will diversify our cocoa sector,” he said.

He argues that if packaging and processing is added to Ghana’s cocoa production line, the cash crop’s value to the country will rise and farmers will benefit more from their toil. “We don’t appreciate cocoa pods in Ghana and Africa at large but if we add value to it, shipping them out of the country will be different.”

The politician posited that aside from processing, the mechanised form of farming should be introduced to the cocoa sector to boost production. He further noted with unionised farmers receiving mechanical support from government, “they can cultivate more and this will in the end help both the government and farmers themselves.”

If these significant strides are not made in the cocoa sector, T.T Caternor believes Ghana’s cocoa production prowess will become a distant memory. “We have gone past shipping cocoa pods and must change our story in the next 10 years.”

He made this known in an interview with Don Kwabena Prah on Happy98.9FM’s Epa Hoa Daben political talk show.

Every week, illegal mining activities or ‘galamsey’ destroys at least 20 acres of cocoa farms in the Sefwi-Wiawso, Juaboso, Bia and Akotombra areas in the Western North Region, an area that constitutes the largest percentage of Ghana’s cocoa production, the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.

The GAWU has thus sent a distress signal to Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to swiftly intervene to stop the large-scale destruction of cocoa farms by illegal miners or risk missing out on its ambitious target of producing 900,000 tonnes of cocoa beans for the 2020/21 crop season.